by Carol Muske-Dukes
Love comes hungry to anyone’s hand.
I found the newborn sparrow next to
the tumbled nest on the grass. Bravely
opening its beak. Cats circled, squirrels.
I tried to set the nest right but the wild
birds had fled. The knot of pin feathers
sat in my hand and spoke. Just because
I’ve raised it by touch, doesn’t mean it
follows. All day it pecks at the tin image of
a faceless bird. It refuses to fly,
though I’ve opened the door. What
sends us to each other? He and I
had a blue landscape, a village street,
some poems, bread on a plate. Love
was a camera in a doorway, love was
a script, a tin bird. Love was faceless,
even when we’d memorized each other’s
lines. Love was hungry, love was faceless,
the sparrow sings, famished, in my hand.
From Poetry Magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2002
The Poetry Foundation